Welcome news this morning (Monday) for arts organisations as the Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín says she has given the green light for financial support to be released this week in a recovery package to support the creative and heritage sectors.
The Covid support funding will be distributed by Arts Council NI, and partner bodies in the heritage and indigenous language sectors. Full details of the £15.75m will be announced on Wednesday.
With children still off school there is some interesting local content online that can be accessed at any time.
Wheelworks a charity which works with young people from four-25-year-old, combining art and digital technology, have uploaded a series of six session workshops to YouTube from illustration and abstract art to iPad music production and animation.
The tutorials are about twenty minutes long and are all led by specialists in each field.
The Golden Thread gallery has a new instruction video on how to use scraps from around the house, to make a Joy Gerrard inspired art work, for anyone like me who grew up watching Blue Peter and wishing for sticky-back plastic that was never around the house, that’s music to my ears.
Moving on Music is a charity which champions new music. Among other things, it usually runs the Brilliant Corners Jazz festival in Belfast.
You can tell how much it has been missing live music when it took over the Black Box (before the most recent closure of licensed premises) dotted various musicians around the premises and then filmed them performing.
The ’All the Noels’ video that it edited from this experience feels like an underground video, as if music has been outlawed and everyone has to perform in masks so the musicians cannot be recognised. The Scott Flanigan Trio starts it off then Blue Whale, a group I first listened to down a back-alley off the Ormeau Road, then on the top of a multistory car park during an early Culture Night.
They have since gone on to better things. Landless complete the recording with a strange otherworldly lament. It is worth a look and listen to.
I went looking for the disappearing wall in Castlecourt as it was originally advertised but I could not find it and thought that it had already disappeared — when it turned up on the Titanic slipways (no doubt because it has more fresh air circulating around it).
Designed by the Goethe Institute and brought to Belfast by Catalyst in partnership with Urban Scale Interventions, the wall has 6000 individually-etched blocks of quotes (that came from a European open callout), in the source language, German and English. Belfast is one of 16 European cities hosting the wall celebrating the diversity of culture.
If you come across the art piece on your constitutional you can take an etched block home with you.
Hand sanitiser is available at the site, as is a contact-tracing mechanism. When I visited, the block I took home said ‘Language is the home of those who do not feel at home here or there’, a quote from Edurne Portela. Never a truer word spoken.
We can’t mention Catalyst without mentioning that one of their former co-directors has been selected as one of the judges for the Turner prize next year. Kim McAleese from Belfast was also a co founder of Household Belfast and is currently programme director at Grand Union Gallery, Birmingham. Those of you who remember the surprise of the local population when artists turned their houses into galleries around the Ormeau Road and opened them to the public will remember Kim as being one of the instigators. Well done to her.
We couldn't be prouder of our co-founder, friend and all round wonderful human being Kim McAleese for being selected as a Turner Prize judge 2021.— Household Belfast (@Household_Bel) October 23, 2020
Kim is currently programme director at @granduniongallery and will be representing Midlands in next year prize. https://t.co/RnNubtSZ3j
The Belfast International Festival continues until 1 November. There have been some interesting talks in conjunction with Westival, Westport music and arts festival, such as Helen Lewis on difficult women, some content is now on their YouTube channel, if you missed it first time around.
Speaking of women difficult or not, Belfast Photo Festival has announced they will be running their festival celebrating the age of the female gaze.
It is titled XX XY which symbolises women identifying and non-binary photographers and is reframing the world to look at what happens when women get behind the camera.
All of their talks and workshops have gone online but there will still be some exhibitions such as Sligo artist Yvette Monahan who’s exhibition ‘Octopolis’ will be located at the Big Fish and Dublin-based artist Niamh Smyth ‘s exhibition ‘Institutions of Home’ held in the Tropical Ravine in Botanic gardens. The Festival runs from 4-30 November.
Almost finally: I think sadly of all the exhibitions waiting to be seen in real life such as Cultúrlann showing their art collection as part of their 30 year anniversary.
Finally, if your a visual artist and have not received any help from the ACNI emergency artist fund (and details on the next batch of funding will be released today), the Freelands Foundation currently have a fund available for Northern Ireland-based artists. Email Freedlands for details.
Love and light